Scotland’s premier fiddle ambassador and the sizzlingly-talented Californian cellist Natalie Haas may not seem an obvious one, but the duo’s dazzling teamwork, driving rhythms, and their shared passion for improvising on the melody and the groove of Scottish tunes have helped reconstruct and revive the Scottish tradition of playing dance music on violin and cello. They have toured internationally for over eighteen years, wowing audiences at festivals and concerts worldwide with their unique sound and have released five critically acclaimed and award-winning albums along the way.
” … you would think they’d been playing together for centuries. While his fiddle dances, her cello throbs darkly or plucks puckishly. Then [Haas] opens her cello’s throat, joining Fraser in soaring sustains, windswept refrains, and sudden, jazzy explosions. Their sound is as urbane as a Manhattan midnight, and as wild as a Clackmannan winter.” — Boston Globe
“As many gigs as they must have played together over the past decade or so, there remains a striking spontaneity about Fraser and Haas’s music-making. He has tonal variation and attack to spare, but what makes them so consistently absorbing is the responsiveness each shows to the other. Haas is more than a cellist: she’s the rhythm section who uses the percussive chip’n’chop of her bowing and the double bass-like pulse of her pizzicato playing to great effect. The accompanist’s role moves so fluently between them, building tension all the while, and then they’ll slip into unison and it’s like floodgates opening. ”
— The Herald
“Fraser, one of the most respected of all exponents of the Scots fiddle, would look long and hard to find a more appropriate cellist as a partner…A positive joy.”
— The Scotsman
Fraser has a concert and recording career spanning over 30 years, with a long list of awards, accolades, radio and television credits, and feature performances on top movie soundtracks (Last of the Mohicans, Titanic, etc.). In 2011, he was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame. Haas, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, is one of the most sought after cellists in traditional music today. She has performed and recorded with a who’s who of the fiddle world including Mark O’Connor, Natalie MacMaster, Irish supergroups Solas and Altan, Liz Carroll, Dirk Powell, Brittany Haas, Darol Anger, Jeremy Kittel, Hanneke Cassel, Laura Cortese, and many more.
This seemingly unlikely pairing of fiddle and cello is the fulfillment of a long-standing musical dream for Fraser. His search eventually led him to find a cellist who could help return the cello to its historical role at the rhythmic heart of Scottish dance music, where it stood for hundreds of years before being relegated to the orchestra. The duo’s debut recording, Fire & Grace, won the coveted the Scots Trad Music “Album of the Year” award, the Scottish equivalent of a Grammy. Since its release, the two have gone on to record four more critically acclaimed albums that blend a profound understanding of the Scottish tradition with cutting-edge string explorations. In additional to performing, they both have motivated generations of string players through their teaching at fiddle camps across the globe.